Two separate shark attacks occurred in North Carolina this past weekend, injuring two children. Oak Island residents are now being advised to avoid swimming in the area. Many beachgoers are concerned about their safety.
This morning on FOX 5 News Morning, we talked with Jim Gelsleichter, an associate professor of biology at the University of North Florida. Gelsleichter has extensively studied sharks for the past 20 years and offered his insight:
1. WHAT KIND OF SHARK IS MOST LIKELY TO ATTACK?
Five to six-foot blacktip and spinner sharks, but they usually bite just once or twice before leaving because they don't feed on humans. The sharks that attacked the 12-year-old and 16-year-old this past weekend were likely seven or eight-feet long.
2. WHEN ARE SHARKS CLOSEST TO SHORE?
They are typically closest to the shore between dusk and dawn, which is their feeding time.
3. IS IT SAFE TO SWIM OUT IN THE OCEAN?
"There's nothing we can do to avoid completely being a potential shark victim, with the exception of completely staying out of the water," said Gelsleichter. "It's akin to not driving just because there's a potential risk that we can get in a car accident."
4. ARE SHARK ATTACKS COMMON IN NORTH CAROLINA?
Usually there are one to five attacks every year in North Carolina, but there are more shark attacks in Florida.
5. WHAT SHOULD YOU DO TO AVOID SHARKS?